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Houston gets a new art theater this weekend with Wyatt

by Stewart Cole

The new Lynn Wyatt Theater at the Kinder Building at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Photo: Gentle Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

When it comes time for the Houston Museum of Fine Arts to open a new movie theater at the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, who better to name the theater than local philanthropist and friend Lynn Wyatt?

“There was a plan to have a second, smaller theater to give us more flexibility in museum planning,” says MFAH film curator Marian Luntz of the 215-seat venue. “And Lynn took the opportunity to endow the theater, to take its name from it.”

As Wyatt has long been a patron of the arts, naming the theater in her honor was unthinkable for the museum. After all, Wyatt is the founding chairman of the museum’s film subcommittee, who advises and guides the film department, as well as the founder of Film Buffs, the museum’s member group for film lovers. He is also an honorary member of the board of the Houston Cinema Arts Society. “When I met Lynn,” says Lundz, “I was impressed by her knowledge of cinema, her love of cinema, and others.”

Starting this weekend, the Lynn Wyatt Theater will be open for business, with light blue-green seats (which Wyatt helped set apart), surrounded by American walnut provided by Deborah Brochstein and its carpentry company. Wyatt will go to the old school for its opening weekend, screening Otto Preminger’s 1944 film noir “Laura” (Wyatt’s favorite, which showed the film in the museum, as part of the “Movies Houstonians Love” series, before years) on 4 and 5 December.


Never: 7 p.m. December 4 and 5 p.m. December 5

Where: Lynn Wyatt Theater, Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 5500 Main

Permission: $ 9 ($ 7 for seniors)

Details: 713-639-7515; mfah.org/films

The film will be screened at 35mm, as Wyatt (like Brown) is equipped with a 35mm film booth. Later in the month, the theater will also screen Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic 1954 “Rear Window” thriller (another Wyatt favorite who befriended Grace Kelly co-star) and the 1959 French-Brazilian-Italian film “Black Orphe.” “(Shown as an accompanying piece in the” Afro-Atlantic Histories “exhibition of MFAH) in 35mm.

Although both amphitheaters still show movies digitally, MFAH has unfolded several movies, new and old, in the last 35mm. In September, Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” aired at 35mm, and with other contemporary filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, Edgar Wright and Paul Thomas Anderson releasing 35mm prints of their latest films, more new films may be on the way. . “We will definitely hope to include in the programming new and recent films by modern filmmakers who want their films to be screened at 35mm,” says Luntz, who says there has been talk of showing Anderson’s upcoming “Licorice Pizza” in 35 mm.

Although the Kinder Building has been open since late last year, the museum opens in Wyatt this weekend, especially because Brown’s recent reopening (which was closed throughout the pandemic) showed that people want to return In the cinema. “We were pleased with the response from people who came to Brown with limited capacity,” says Luntz. “But with a hundred fewer seats at Wyatt, there was just a sense of desire to wait until that point where people would make their own choices. “But we will have capacity limitations until December and then we will re-evaluate where things are.”

With MFAH now having two theaters and the recent news that Sarofim Hall, Rice University’s new arts building, will be the future home of Rice Cinema, it seems that repertoire programming is returning to Houston. And Luntz is happy to see the MFAH audience respond well.

“I would say that people look very enthusiastic about the movies we show,” he says. “I feel that there are some who are not comfortable sitting in theaters. But a lot of people are, and [they] they look enthusiastic and are ready to experience a new theater. “

Craig Lindsey is a Houston-based author.

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